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Commissural white matter disconnectivity in normal ageing and Alzheimer’s disease

Scally, Brian Donal (2018) Commissural white matter disconnectivity in normal ageing and Alzheimer’s disease. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The network of commissural white matter fibres responsible for connecting the hemispheres of the brain is known as the corpus callosum (CC). Atrophy to the CC is evident in studies of aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but patterns and functional implications of neurodegeneration are still somewhat unclear. In this thesis, neuroimaging methods were used to further examine how structural and functional CC properties are affected by normal ageing and AD. In Study 1, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to examine the posterior CC tract bundles in young and older adults. Parietal and temporal midsagittal CC segments were particularly impaired in older adults, while occipital tracts were relatively preserved. Study 2 applied this methodology to study Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and AD. MCI patients exhibited reduced integrity in midsagittal parietal segments compared to controls. AD patients exhibited reductions in parietal and temporal segments, yielding high classification accuracy (95-98%) against controls. Study 3 assessed visual interhemispheric transfer in aging using electroencephalography (EEG). Transfer speed was elongated in older adults, but was driven by earlier activation of the input hemisphere rather than delayed activation of the receiving hemisphere. This was not interpreted as impairment in older age, in line with findings of preserved occipital tracts in Study 1. Study 5 examined EEG functional connectivity methodology. We showed that connectivity was strongest at the dominant EEG frequency, which experiences slowing in older age. Previous studies using conventional frequency bands may therefore be biased against older adults. Study 6 applied these findings to study interhemispheric functional connectivity in older adults, while controlling for age-related frequency slowing. Age-related disconnectivity between frontal sites was evident, reflecting typical anterior-posterior neurodegeneration in older adults (Bennett, Madden, Vaidya, Howard, & Howard, 2010). These studies provide novel spatial and methodological insight into the CC during ageing and AD.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: ageing, alzheimer's disease, eeg, dti, mri, magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography, diffusion tensor imaging, connectivity, mild cognitive impairment
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Medicine and Health (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.767247
Depositing User: Dr Brian Scally
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2019 15:32
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22351

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